Book Trailer: Claire King, The Night Rainbow

I thought it would be nice to throw in an extra blog post this week so that I could share one of the most captivating, intriguing and eye-catching book trailers I’ve watched in a very long time. I don’t do this often, but when I come across something surprising, wonderful, different, I can’t help it.

Well done to Claire King and Bloomsbury is all I can say. I have my copy of The Night Rainbow ordered from the local bookshop and can’t wait to read it.

On a side note, if anyone is struggling right now with their writing, Claire wrote a lovely guest post for earlier in the week – How do You Keep the Joy in Writing? – which I’d highly recommend.

Do you know of any other amazing book trailers that will captivate and draw us in like this one? Please post below!


Celebrating Others (Part 2)



Continuing on from last week’s celebration of others, here are a few more people I’d like to mention…

@cathryanhoward is a self published author and blogger who also provides social media conferences and training (including with Faber, amongst others). Catherine is so successful because she had the guts to go for it, combining a business mind with writing talent, way before the rest of us thought of it.

Crime fiction lovers won’t have missed the next name: this year, @LouiseMPhillips quickly became a bests elling author with her debut, Red Ribbons, published by Hachette. Louise‘s psychological crime thriller was also nominated for Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year 2012.

@alisonwells A dedicated writer with novel Housewife with a Half Life and a string of exciting short story shortlists to her belt, Alison is also a tireless tweeter, blogger and a busy mum. I still marvel at how she manages to keep it all up.

If you enjoy historical fiction or steampunk (or even both) @katyOD is a great girl to know. As well as editing and being a sucker for anything cute and fluffy, Katy is also fun and supportive. Look out for her debut, Scarlett Ribbon.

@LJCassidy, a young writer who recently released her second book with Penguin – a Young Adult spooky detective series – is certainly starting to get the recognition she deserves. A lovely, friendly girl and fabulous writer, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next in Laura‘s career.

Don’t forget to shout out to a few of the people you admire for their achievements!

Celebrating Others – Part 1



I’ve seen a lot of posts over the last while about gratitude and thankfulness, probably sparked by the thanksgiving holidays and the build up to Christmas. But whatever the reason, isn’t it great to see?

A couple of months ago I found that my twitter stream was filled with self promotional links. Of course, self promotion is wholly necessary – and to be applauded – but ALL the tweets were self promotional which I thought was a bit extreme. So I threw out the question:

“Where has all the conversation gone? My twitter stream is all self promotion!”

Some people suggested I was maybe following the wrong people and should unfollow a few. A valid suggestion, but I choose selectively and I know I’m following a crowd of fun and interesting people – so what happened? Was it just bad timing?

On closer inspection, I found that there were strings of RTs supporting other writers – published traditionally as well as independently – so I couldn’t complain. In fact, I was pleased to see how supportive everyone was being and my irritation turned to a feeling of admiration. I felt like applauding.

But it got me thinking…with all the advice out there about self promotion via social media, is it possible to lose the art of conversation and get bogged down with links to our writing/books/blogs?

As a result, I decided to take a bit of time out to celebrate a few other people’s achievements. After all, if you can’t celebrate those you admire, you’re not living!

There are so many deserving people that I could add to this list, but I’m limiting it (for now) to a few who really stand out to me personally. There’ll be more next week…

Vanessa O’Loughlin is the brains and brawn behind @writing_ie and Inkwell Writers. In my experience, she’s instrumental in bringing together writers, agents and publishers as well as providing brilliant workshops with attentive aftercare. There are many published writers out there who are thankful for her help.

Bob at @gutterbookshop is one of those people you can’t help adoring. As well as his fabulous bookshop, he’s a really lovely and interesting guy who’s always up for fun & a chat. Plus, he’s full of ideas and works like a Shire horse to make them happen.

@sarahwebbishere needs no introduction. But not only is she an amazingly prolific author, Sarah’s also extremely generous and helpful to those starting out. A kind and talented lady.

@mduffywriter has just released her second book, The Terrace, with Hachette, which quickly reached the top ten for original fiction here in Ireland. Her first book, Any Dream Will Do hit the Irish bestsellers list. Best thing is, Maria’s down to earth, fun and incredibly kind.

@derekF03 went from wishlist to a recorded album in under a year, and he still manages to maintain excellent writing on his own blog and’s Songbook. Throw in a few novels at various stages of brilliance, and you know that Derek is one to watch. Driven, enthusiastic and supportive, he’s also great craic.

And finally, never forget the poets. Kate Dempsey is always on the lookout for what’s going on so she’s a great one for sharing news and events, especially via her Emerging Writer blog. For all things poetry, check out her blog Poetic License or connect with her on twitter.

There’ll be more celebrations next week, but in the meantime…

Are there any bloggers or tweeps that you particularly admire? Please give them a shout out!

Looking for somewhere to write?

A favourite haunt for Yeats and Shaw…

Lately, I’ve been thinking about self development for writers because every year around this time, I start choosing which festivals and residential courses I’m going to attend the following year.

There’s lots you can do as a writer to self-improve but the best way to develop your skills is to practice. Sometimes, this isn’t as easy as it sounds – especially if you’re trying to fit a writing schedule around a hectic home/family/work life.

Inspired by a blog post by Alison Wells who went to Cill Rialaig for a writers retreat earlier in the year, I thought I’d share with you a little place that I know… A home away from home that offers the perfect setting for focused writing but without the application forms and selection process.

Although writers retreats with a selection process are both vital and necessary, there are limited spaces. As a result, many writers – particularly unpublished writers trying to break through into the publishing world – are left without anywhere to go. As we all know, a change of scenery, a break from routine is beneficial. As a result, it’s something all writers – whatever stage of their career – crave from time to time.

So where can you go?

Anywhere that offers you peace, quiet and space is perfect. It could be a room, a shed, a library or local cafe. But sometimes you want to treat yourself to something a little bit special, giving your writing time the dedication and respect it deserves.

Some of the locals!

As far as I’m concerned, this secret little writing retreat in Ireland that has served many of my writing needs in the past – and still does on occasion – needs celebrating, even though part of me wants to keep all to myself. And I’m not the first…

Yeats, Shaw and Somerville all stayed here at some point during their career (you can ask to see the guestbook) and over the last few years, I’ve seen several writers come and go. Each time, they’re delighted with the work they’ve accomplished, the warm reception they’ve received and the energy they’ve recouped – but they’re reluctant to share!

Grove House is a welcoming family-run guest house which not only offers everything a writer needs – big rooms, desks, tranquil atmosphere, lovely views, great food and helpful staff – but is designed for writers and creative sorts. There’s a homely atmosphere and Katarina and her sons are well prepared for the quirky requests and odd hours that a writer might need.

Fast becoming a creative epicentre in the village of Schull, Grove House houses art exhibitions, acoustic gigs, piano recitals (the owner of the house is an exceptional piano player as well as a writer) as well as growing it’s own veg, housing a growing family of ducks and chickens and providing everything visitors might need. Of course, a trip to Ireland isn’t a possibility for everyone.

But is it time to treat yourself to some dedicated writing space and time? Where will you go?

Now we can explore the ocean?

The sea – with its wild moods, terrible power and impenetrable beauty – is something that’s always felt special in my life.

I have fond memories of childhood trips to the red-brick seaside village of Whitby, feasting on the best smoked kippers in the world. We’d brave the walks at the wild North Gare and South Gare (I lost a cousin to a freak wave here) and would tackle the cold wind and industrial skyline of Redcar, where the Dundalk sequence in Atonement was filmed. Then there were the yearly trips to Blackpool for pontefract cakes and an evening tucked up in a coach, trawling the infamous light displays of the Golden Mile. Inland, I gorged on Jules Verne and Jonathon Swift, Hemmingway and Sinbad films, dreaming of sailing exotic oceans.

As an adult, I’ve swam with sharks (Australia), stingrays (The Bahamas) and dolphins (Jamaica) – but oddly, I’ve always travelled by air. I’ve snorkeled in some of the world’s most beautiful spots, but still have a list of oceans to explore. Now, I live near the sea and use it as a constant food supply; mackerel, pollock, winkles, cockles, seaweed, razor clams – they’re all part of my regular diet and every day I realise how lucky I am to have this opportunity. The sea is just five minutes walk from my front door and I can see it from my window. I would never have imagined such things were possible.

But what sparked this post was an amazing new feature from googlemaps. We are no longer confined to the earth; now we can explore the oceans. As a young girl, I could only have dreamed of something like this being possible…

What is this creature?

What am I?

I must have a name!

This is a quick detour in the usual blog-posting schedule because, quite frankly, it’s been driving me nuts!

I saw this bug on a shop window in Dublin over a year ago and have been unable to identify it since.

I’ve asked all my science-loving, bug-loving nature-loving friends and have consulted books, websites etc to no avail.

Can anyone help? Any ideas at all?

Celebrating Living Irish Writers

Happy St Patrick's Day

Seeing as it’s St Patrick’s Day, I’m adding an extra post this week. Ireland is known for being a nation of storytellers, and is also famous for its rich literary heritage. But, I’d like to celebrate some of the outstanding living Irish writers that are entertaining the world with their wit, charm and literary talent. The writers that helped Dublin to earn UNESCO City of Literature status.

Having blogged for many Irish Literary festivals, including Cork International Short Story Festival and Listowel Writers’ Week, I’ve been lucky enough to meet, chat with and interview some of Ireland’s greats.

So, if you’ve a bit of time on your hands and would like to read some cracking advice and tidbits from top Irish writers, click on the relevant name below.


She finally did it…

Taken on a local walk

Welcome to my new blog; a quiet place for me to reflect on my life as a writer.

As you probably know; I gave up a corporate lifestyle to concentrate on my writing. To do this, I’ve taken a few steps that probably most people would like to take, but haven’t yet had the opportunity. I’m one of the lucky ones.

  1. I’ve moved to the countryside for as much fresh sea air as possible
  2. I’ve become self sufficient – this means growing vegetables, fishing, making stuff.
  3. I started my own social media business – this means I get to hang out at literary festivals and call it work.

In short, I’m having a generally great time, with a few bumps along the way. Pop back from time to time, and you’ll see what I mean…